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Authors: Lynette Eason

When a Secret Kills

BOOK: When a Secret Kills
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© 2013 by Lynette Eason

Published by Revell

a division of Baker Publishing Group

P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287

Ebook edition created 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-4215-0

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Published in association with Joyce Hart of the Hartline Literary Agency, LLC.

When a Secret Kills
was a fabulous read! Eason is a master at romantic suspense with the perfect blend of suspense and romance. I gobbled up the novel in two days and promptly ordered the first two books in the series. Highly recommended!”

Colleen Coble
, author of the Rock Harbor series and the Hope Beach series

When a Secret Kills
by Lynette Eason is a fast-paced romantic suspense with compelling characters who pull you into the story and make you care what happens to them.”

Margaret Daley
, author of
Scorned Justice
, the Men of the Texas Rangers series

“Clear the runway and fasten your seat belts. This novel captures the reader in the first line and doesn’t stop until the end. Eason has created a suspense-packed story that captivates the reader. The suspense never stops!”

DiAnn Mills
, author of
The Chase
The Survivor

Past Praise for Lynette Eason

When the Smoke Clears
is a story about reconnecting with friends, facing the past, and falling in love—with a bit of murder along the way. I highly recommend my friend Lynette’s stories, and I love this book. It will keep you guessing until the very end.”

Dee Henderson
, bestselling author

“Eason does an amazing job of setting the bar high for romantic tension, as well as offering a deep dark secret that may or may not ever come to light.”

Suspense Magazine

“Balancing skilled action writing with quality characterization is difficult for many writers, but Eason does both well.”


“This plot-driven third entry in Eason’s Women of Justice series is sure to appeal to fans of romantic suspense as well as readers who like Joel C. Rosenberg and Ted Dekker.”

Library Journal
A Killer Among Us

To my awesome Revell team.

You guys are amazing.

Working with you is a joy and a privilege.

I pray God’s blessings on each of your lives.

But those who hope in the L

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

—Isaiah 40:31 NIV


Mid-August 2012
6:45 PM

“Are you crazy?” Jillian Carter stared at the man seated across from her, momentarily distracted from watching those who entered and left the restaurant.

“No. I’m serious.” Jeff Lindler’s dark eyes flashed with good humor as his lips lifted in a lazy smile. “I think it could work.”

“Marriage? But . . . we’re best friends.” And she used that term loosely although he was one of the few people she trusted. But he still didn’t know her. Not the

“And you don’t want to marry your best friend?”

“I . . . I . . . ” Jillian snapped her lips shut. “Well, yes, of course, but I just don’t think of you like that. I . . . don’t . . . think I do anyway.”

Tenderness filled his eyes and he clasped her hand. “Will you try? Give us a chance? We make a great professional team, why not a great marriage? You know I’m crazy about you.”

Did she?

For a moment, she was tempted. Oh so tempted to give in and forget the past, to simply live in the moment. “Jeff, I don’t know
what to say.” She did notice that he hadn’t said he loved her. Crazy about her? Sure. She was crazy about him too, in a best friend sort of way. But not crazy in love with him like she’d been with—

“Say you’ll think about it.” He leaned back and studied her while she looked at him with new eyes. A reporter for KSWB, he was the one person at work she’d let in to get to know her. And that was still at a very shallow level.

“Jeff, I’m sorry, I’m not looking for marriage or romance or—”

His lips tightened and the tenderness slid into hurt. After a moment he tried again. “You are the most mysterious person I’ve ever met. You’re also the best investigative reporter I’ve ever worked with. With all of the stories and leads you’ve ferreted out, you could be a household name. And yet, you choose to let me have all the glory. Why?”

“The truth is very important to me. I don’t care how it comes out, just so it does.” She eased up on the intensity in her voice. “And besides, glory looks good on you, Jeff. Natural.”

“Stop trying to flatter me and tell me what’s going on with you. I’ve known you for four years and you won’t let me any closer than friends. Come on, Julie, what gives?”

Julie. Julie Carson. The alias she’d been using for ten years.

And the reason she and Jeff would never be anything more than friends. She took a sip of water and plastered a concerned look on her face. A look that had gotten more than one subject to open up and tell everything she knew. “What do you mean? I share almost everything with you.”

“Yes. Everything to do with work.” He slapped a hand on the table and she jumped. Customers nearest their table cast them sidelong glances. “But nothing about what’s going on inside you. What is it you’re hiding from? What keeps you looking over your shoulder every time we go out? Who are you afraid of?” He leaned in. “Let me in.”

Jillian closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. She’d had
no idea he’d been so perceptive, so in tune to her fears. When she opened her eyes, he stood.

“You can trust me, Julie. I love you.”

Now he said it. Three words she’d longed to hear. Just not from him.

“You don’t even know me,” she whispered. “No one can know me.”

His brows drew together and he shook his head. “I don’t believe that.”

“We’ve never even kissed. How can you say you love me?”

He leaned over, cupped her chin, and placed his lips over hers. Stunned, she could only stare at him when he lifted his head. He smiled. “Trust me. I mean it. Now give me the keys. I’ll pull the car around while you pump the mayor for more information on those corrupt real estate agents.”

Jillian spied Mayor Jacobs to her right. “No, I’m not in the mood.”

“Get in the mood. This is the perfect time. He hates me, but will spill his guts to you if you turn on that southern accent you do so well.”

She jerked. “Southern accent?”

“It comes out when you get mad or want to be charming. Now go use it.”

Jillian sighed, wondering how the man could just turn his feelings off like a switch. She didn’t want to talk to the mayor. She wanted to go hibernate for a week and process what had just happened between her and Jeff. Instead, she said, “Fine.” She handed Jeff her keys and crossed the room to stand in front of a man in his midsixties. He had his gray hair styled and combed to the side. Sharp green eyes watched her approach.

Jillian forced a smile. “Hello, Mayor Jacobs.”

“Hello, Ms. Carson.” He lifted his glass in a mock toast. “Loved the piece you did on my daughter’s equestrian award.”

This time Jillian had no trouble producing a genuine smile. “She’s an amazing rider. I enjoyed the afternoon and the interview.” Jillian paused and slid into her reporter personality. “I was wondering if you could—”

The glass window behind the mayor exploded. Jillian screamed as the floor shook, knocking her feet out from under her. She landed hard on the tile, the mayor fell beside her, eyes wide open, mouth slack. Screams of terror echoed through the restaurant. Jillian felt the sting of cuts, saw a gash on her forearm, and felt the air whoosh from her lungs.

Scrambling to her feet, she grabbed her cell phone and clicked it into video mode. Terror rushing right along with the adrenaline surge she always got when she smelled a story, she shot a quick glance at the mayor, who struggled to his feet, eyes dazed. But he was alive.

Then she saw the cause of the explosion and all thoughts of any story vanished.

The burning remains of her car greeted her stunned gaze. “Jeff!” Stumbling, shoving past other panicked customers, she forced her way to the exit and burst outside. “Jeff! No! Jeff!” The heat of the flames kept her back as horrified disbelief and grief hit her at the same time.

BOOK: When a Secret Kills
10.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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